The Press Newspaper
The City of Toledo has been awarded over $3.5 million in federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban
Development to continue stabilizing and strengthening Toledo neighborhoods that have been hit by the foreclosure crisis.
The grant is part of the third round of funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and was allocated as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Toledo’s award was the third highest allocation among Ohio cities and counties, higher than Cincinnati’s allocation ($3.1 million) despite its rank as the third most populous Ohio city. Approximately 250 U.S. cities and counties received NSP III allocations. Toledo’s allocation landed the city in the top 50 nationwide based on amount received.
The money will be used locally to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed homes in order to make them salable once again. The funding can also be used to provide qualifying homebuyers with down payment assistance.
To date Toledo has received nearly $27 million from HUD for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. In addition to acquisition and rehabilitation and down payment assistance, the funding has also been used to supplement demolition of qualifying properties that have been identified as detractions to neighborhoods where new development may likely take place.
“What this is all about is to stem the tide of foreclosure and revitalizing neighborhoods one home at a time,” said the city’s Department of Neighborhoods Housing Manager Ebenezer Osei-Kwame.
To date the City has acquired 52 homes for rehabilitation and purchase. An additional 183 vacant residential structures, 12 garages and seven non-residential structures have been demolished as a part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Homes cannot be purchased from private individuals for renovation.
“In order to qualify to have an NSP investment, the house has to be vacant as the result of a foreclosure,” said Neighborhood Housing Services director Bill Farnsell. “If I was to purchase a house from you, and just because it needs to be renovated, doesn’t mean it will qualify for the funding.”
All NSP activities are completed with the goal of preserving property values and preventing the decline of neighborhoods that have begun to “tip” as a result of the recent economic impact. The City of Toledo Department of Neighborhoods manages the program.
A home currently under renovation in East Toledo is at 720 Yondota Street. The two-story wood frame home, built in 1902, was originally purchased after foreclosure by the former Housing East Redevelopment Corporation and later the title was transferred to Genoa Banking Company. The home has eight rooms, including three bedrooms and two baths.
NHS then purchased the home with NSP money for $25,000, and Farnsell says the home’s renovation, also being completed with NSP money, is 90 percent finished. Farnsell said the home, which includes a new garage in the back, is for sale. There are leasing options, also.
“A lot of what we’ve been doing with properties we own or properties we’ve taken back is try to get them to where people can move into them,” Farnsell added. “We’ve got a pretty strong business going with lease-to-own. If somebody is looking for a house and they want to be a homeowner, but they don’t really have good credit at this point, we’ll analyze their income to see if a particular house they are interested in is affordable, and if it is we’ll lease to them for a period of time with them being able to buy it at some point in the future.”
Farnsell added that NHS, with offices in East Toledo, has other another service that is becoming very popular.
“We’re very busy and still taking applications for the weatherization program,” Farnsell said. “That is a free service and we can help people who are homeowners or renters — it doesn’t matter. We insulate places where people live so they can spend less money on utilities and have more money for food.”
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